A Local’s Guide to Munich
I’m super excited to publish this first post of my Europe series – and it’s about my hometown! My German home lies about 1 hour outside of Munich, which makes it super easy to go and explore the city on a frequent basis. However, I didn’t explore it as a “tourist” until Jeongsu and I traveled to Germany this past summer. I showed him the best places and eats and he was absolutely amazed! That’s why I created this easy guide to Munich.
Here’s the best local’s guide to Munich:
Start Out at Marienplatz
Munich’s major sight is the Neue Rathaus (New Town Hall), a beautiful neo-gothic building world-famous and always busy. Be sure to check out the bell ringing at 11 and 12 at noon, additionally at 5 pm from March to October. Hand-made figurines start dancing around in the bell tower representing the wedding ceremony of William V, Duke of Bavaria, and Renata of Lorraine in 1568.
Be sure to check out the inner court of the building, easily accessible through one of the main gates (plus, there’s also a public toilet). If you’re looking for some local food, get a table at “Ratskeller”, a huge cellar restaurant from the 19 hundreds offering regional meals and featuring a classic design.
Directions: Get off at Marienplatz Station
Get the View from Above
It’s easy to get a glance over the city center by either taking the elevator up to the top of the New Town Hall, or, much more popular (and crowded), by walking the 300 steps up the St. Peter church across from the Town Hall, ideal to get a view of the entire building. Jeongsu and I decided to take the elevator up the New Town Hall and had an amazing view. There was a small fee of 2 euros or so to enter the platform but it is well worth it!
St. Peter View Platform:
Monday to Friday: 9 am – 6:30 pm
Saturday, Sunday and on holidays: 10 am -6:30 pm
Monday to Friday: 9 am – 5:30 pm
Saturday, Sunday and on holidays: 10 am -5:30 pm
Snack At Viktualienmarkt
If you are looking for exquisite snacks, make your way to the famous Viktualienmarkt! This daily food market, in the center of the city, only a few minutes from Marienplatz, is the place to pick up exotic fruit, spices, cheese, fresh fish, juices, and so on. The whole market covers an area of 22,000 m2 (240,000 sq ft) with over 140 stalls dating back to 1807. The markets are open daily from Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.. The market also hosts a number of traditional and folkloric events such as weighing celebrities, brewers’ day, gardeners’ day, opening of the asparagus season, summer festival, dance of the market women on Shrove Tuesday.
Directions: S-Bahn lines 1-8, U3 or U6, Bus 52 to Marienplatz, then walk towards Tal and turn right behind St. Peter’s church
Check out the Churches
Munich is home to a total of 21 major churches of historical value. After embracing the fascinating view from one of the two platforms, don’t miss out on some of the most beautiful churches nearby! The first one to check out is the Cathedral of Our Dear Lady, easily spotted due to her two onion domes. It’s a Gothic cathedral and city parish church as well as a major symbol of the city.
One of my other favorite churches is the Jesuit church of St. Michael, Germany’s first Renaissance church. The outside of the church is decorated with 15 statues of former rulers, some of which found their final resting place in the crypts below.
Eat At Hofbräuhaus
This icon place used to be the royal brewery in the Kingdom of Bavaria. It also owns one of the biggest tents at the famous Oktoberfest (Hofbräu-Festzelt). The restaurant and brewery offers a large variety of different beers, some originating from Wilhelm V, the Duke of Bavaria. The most popular brews include Weißbier and Helles, Maibock, Dunkel and Oktoberfest lagers.
Besides the grand beer selection, the restaurant also offers delicious Bavarian meals, such as the famous pork knuckles, various sausage specialties from the house butchery, or the Munich-style sauerbraten.
Address: Platzl 9, 80331 Munich
Experience Dark History at the Dachau Memorial Site
open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The memorial site is closed on December 24th.
No prior appointment is necessary and entry is free. More information.
If you’re into WWII, this morbid place is a must-see! The infamous Dachau Concentration Camp was the first permanent camp built by the Nazis in Germany. It opened its gates on March 22nd 1933, and was liberated on April 29th 1945. At the camp you travel back in time and get to see the bunkers and crematorium. There is also an International Memorial for the millions of Jews who died under the Nazi regime. SS training facilities, where Nazi staff was trained and received orders, can also be seen as well as the infamous gas showers of the holocaust.
Take the S2 train from Munich in the direction of Dachau/Petershausen until you reach the Dachau station. The train ride takes approximately 25 minutes from Munich’s Central Station (Hauptbahnhof).
Once you have arrived at the Dachau train station, take bus 726 towards “Saubachsiedlung” to the entrance of the memorial site (“KZ-Gedenkstätte”).
Experience Soccer at the Allianz Arena
This stadium is home to the two professional Munich football clubs FC Bayern Munich and TSV 1860 München. The stadium openend in 2005 and cost over €340 million to build. It was one of the venues for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. However, due to sponsorship contracts, the arena was called FIFA World Cup Stadium Munichduring the World Cup.
Soccer fans will love the exclusive Arena Tour and the Bayern Munich museum and fan shop.
Directions: Take line 6 in the direction of Garching-Hochbrück and get off at stop Fröttmaning. Getting off, you will see the stadium and simply walk towards it for around 10 minutes.
Stand in Awe at BMW Museum
There’s two things Germany is super famous for: beer and cars! Therefore, you should definitely check out the local BMW museum in Munich, home to the prestigious vehicle mark. This museum is the third most visited in Munich with over 250,000 people a year. If you are interested in the companies development and especially models of past, present and future cars, this is one of the best places!
Directions: Take U3 towards Olympiaeinkaufszentrum and get off at Olympiazentrum
Relax at Europe’s Largest Spa
Therme Erding is my favorite place for a day full of relaxation. Located around 30 minutes northeast of Munich by car and visited by around 4000 people every day, this is one of the major hot spots in the area. Initially drilling to find oil, soothing sulphorous water was discovered here in 1983. Since then, the thermal bathhouse has been expanded and upgraded and now also has the title of the biggest indoor waterslide parks in Europe. This adventure section, called “Galaxy”, offers 20 slides of different excitement levels.
Directions: Take the S2 (S-bahn) to Erding then jump a cab; cost about 4 euros
Unlike the name of the festival would make it seem, the world’s biggest beer festival is actually held in September. Every year, millions of people from all over the globe get together and embrace life. The Oktoberfest is so iconic that the entire city of Munich seems to enter into a state of craziness when the festival begins. If you go, make sure you buy a traditional gingerbread heart and come early to get a good spot in one of the 14 big tents. Traditional live music and the strongest waitresses, carrying up to 12 Maß of beer (Maß = 1 liter of beer, weighing 2300 grams).
When are you visiting München? Pin it xo
I love Munich and it’s a wonderful city to visit. This guide is for all people who have about 2 to 3 days in the city to check it out.
Wanna see more of Germany? Check out this Berlin itinerary!
Never managed it myself to Munich during all those years here in Germany. One problem I always faced when reaching Bavaria that I had trouble understanding the folks :p
haha! I will be traveling to Hanover and Hamburg in summer!
This is great Linda! We are planning on doing Europe in a year, so we will have to reference this when we go to Germany! I am dying to go to Germany since I didn’t get to go on my last travels throughout Europe! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Megan! Germany is great! I’m going to do some more posts on it in the future!! You can ask me anything when you go! 🙂
You’re welcome! Please let me know if you have more questions!
Thanks so much for sharing this Linda! I’ve only been to Berlin and Koln, but have always wanted to travel to Munich! Very helpful info and I can’t wait to check it out for myself–especially that market!! I’m also a sucker for good German beer, so I may just accept that I’m in heaven and never leave ^^
Haha thanks Lindsay! Yes, definitely come to Munich! It’s the most beautiful city in Germany!
It’s funny that you pointed out that even though you live so close to Munic, you’ve never really explored it as a tourist until you’re forced to tour around a friend and that kind of have to. That happens to most people I know who live in big cities/near big cities. I visited Munich when I went to Oktoberfest in 2011 and I absolutely LOVED it!!! I’ve also heard Bavaria has the best food in all of Germany. I didn’t realize the Dachau Memorial Site was so close. I’m sure I will be back again so I will keep your post handy!
Thanks Izzy! Oh yeah, or even when I lived in San Diego, I didn’t blog about it at all which i deeply regret now 🙁 Maybe I’ll write a post about it later some time 🙂
I love this. The pictures look so wonderful. I really want to visit Germany someday – particularly in the winter to see the castles. I’ve wanted to experience October fest as well. Thanks for sharing this!
Thanks Laura! Winter is nice but can get really cold, windy and nasty! I definitely prefer summer, which sometimes also gets cold, windy and nasty! 😀
Therme Erding looks AMAZING! I want to visit Munich just for that haha. I’ve always wanted to go to Oktoberfest! I studied abroad in the Netherlands in 2014 and was hoping to venture out there, but with my studies and lack of funds, it wasn’t possible. I will definitely include Munich in my next Eurotrip. Great post! I will share this post with a friend who is currently planning a summer Euro trip! 🙂
Beautiful! What made it more special for you is showing the place to your boyfriend. Germany is a fascinating with its beauitful structure and history.
Oktoberfest has always been on my bucket list and now I know how to navigate Munich like a pro!
I was just in Munich and I loved it! I was only there for two days, but I did a lot of these things. I also went to the Deutschesmuseum and Neuschwanstein Castle. I can’t wait to go back!
Awesome! How is Deutsches Museum? I’ve never been but I really want to go! And Neuschwanstein is the bomb of course 🙂